Madeline: 12 years old

So, yesterday we just got around to doing Madeline’s 13th birthday interview. That’s when I discovered that her 12th interview was not on my blog anywhere. I went looking and found it in the draft folder!!! I’ve been late before publishing birthday interviews, but never over a year late. 😳 Yikes!!!


What do you want to say first?

Unlike many other years – I think most other years – of birthday interviews, around my birthday I felt a little taller than when I was 11.  I’m not sure if it was just a random growth spurt that coincidentally happened around my birthday…

Tell me about what you like to do these days.

I write a lot, and draw, and read, and play cars with Anson, Kieryn, and Simeon.

Tell me about some of your current writings.

Well, I finished writing about a dog who explains his life story in the book.  I am going to do a cat’s life story next. I am also writing about this boy who… sometimes I have a hard time telling one of my plots without saying the entire thing… do you want me to basically tell you the whole story?

How about you just tell me the highlights?

Well, the boy’s family disappears, and then he has to make sure his dad’s house is in order (paying the bills and keeping it clean, manage the animals). Then his grandparents were going to take him in because he’s only 12, but he doesn’t want to go.

Let’s take some pictures of your recent drawings and post them, okay?


And what kinds of books are you reading lately?

Dear America series books. And one about a girl who wants to keep her horse when she’s moving. It’s funny – I can give a short summary of other people’s books, but not of my own…

What else do you want to talk about?

Well, I think it’s really cool we’re doing this before Zephaniah. [I’m 3 days overdue according to my due date of September 2nd as of the interview.]

What was your guess for his arrival day?

I think I guessed he’d come in 2 days.

So that’s a total of 5 days late?


We got distracted with other things at this point.  Or at least, I did.  So, I told Madeline to write some more stuff about herself.  Here’s what she wrote:

 I like to eat bread – mostly anything that has carbs in it – and mushrooms and black olives and… well, I also like green beans. I like listening to Jonathan Park and Brinkman Adventures and that audio book by Diana Warring.

I like to experiment in singing and listen to different songs. Some of my favorites are on my blog. I also like Seeds Family Worship.

I love horses, cows, dogs, and the sheep/goats… in other words, I’m a farm kind-of girl. And yes, that’s what I want to do when I grow up. To be honest, I’d get out of the house a lot – a LOT – more if we lived on a farm. Well, you know, I’d HAVE to, but I’d also want to.

I dream of being a four-student schoolteacher when I turn eighteen or so. Yes, another dream of mine. I haven’t figured out all the details of costs and all, but I’ll get it someday.

I like the idea of being a missionary except that I can’t take a farm or school on a plane.

I’m very excited for Sukkot; I think about it most every single night when I go to bed. Oh, speaking of bed, I’m living in a room with both my sisters now, instead of just the one (Eden). It’s pretty cool, except that most nights it’s either me getting her to sleep in her bed across from mine or Mom. And no matter who it is, I’ll probably not get to sleep anytime soon.


I’m reading “The Great Railroad Race, the Diary of Libby West” right now. I just finished “Whisper Goodbye,” the one about the girl moving and her friend the horse.

Hmmm… I can’t think of anything else exciting around here… Oh! We’re doing less school than usual because Mom’s full of baby. She could have him today or tomorrow or the next day – we couldn’t know. And Mom doesn’t want to be stuck in the middle of a full school week when he comes, so for now we’re riding gentler waves. I’ll enjoy while I can.

Oh! And Memere and Grandmemere are here! They came for baby. Zephan is his name. I’ll write about him on my blog when he’s born.

This is the last thing. I like to watch Little House on the Prairie, which is all about Laura Ingalls’s life. It looks adventurous! I might like an adventure for this part of my life, too, but I remember the last time I wished that, I got our house’s flood for an answer. Maybe I won’t ask for one yet, after all.

That’s it!

Hank Girl


Anson: 11 years old

Tell me about some of your favorite things.

Soccer, politics.  I like astronomy. I like reading.  It’s really awesome.

What kinds of books do you like to read?

Biographies, mainly.  Actually, that’s pretty much all I read.

Whose biographies have you enjoyed most?

Abraham Lincoln’s life was really interesting – how he grew up on a farm, taught himself, and only had a year’s worth of school, and then became president.  He didn’t even have a full year of school.  Just a little bit over the years, which added up to about a year.

So, you’ve gotten a lot more schooling than he has.  Do you think it’s preparing you to be president one day?

Depends on what the electoral college wants. Or actually WHO the electoral college wants. Fun fact: did you know that James Monroe won every single electoral vote but one? The guy who didn’t vote for him said he wanted George Washington to be the only one who won every single electoral vote.

So, that guy wasn’t necessarily opposed to James Monroe winning?

No, he just didn’t want Monroe to win the way that Washington did.

So, what are your life plans right now?

Um… when I’m about 18 or maybe 17… approximately 18, I want to go to Germany and play for Borussia Dortmund.  But I don’t want to be that far away from home, so I might just find a local professional team to play there. (For those who don’t know, he’s talking about soccer.) I’ll take a couple of years off, if my career succeeds. And then I plan to enter politics when I’m approximately 36 or 37. I might run for mayor, governor, and then President.  I’ll get experience running a city, then a state, then a country. And then after my political career is over, I’ll be an inventor and scientist.

That’s a pretty big plan.

Yes, it is. (This kid. He’s a gem. And he could pull off something this big, I’m sure.)

Your idea of playing for the German soccer team is the reason you began learning German, right?

It wasn’t the original reason. I just liked the language, and then I wanted to go to Germany, so it worked out. (He’s gone through the entire DuoLingo German program more than once. I knew he had been working through the app, but I didn’t know how well it was working until he read instructions for some toy or something in German one day.  I was floored. He often talks to himself or us – though we don’t understand much – in German. He’s such an interesting kid!)

What fun soccer event happened this summer?

Soccer camp.  That was good. (Not the one I was thinking of, but it was a fun, free three days!)

Oh! And also the World Cup! (That’s the one I was going for.) I was cheering for Croatia, because Croatia is a tiny country.  If only they had won…

So, in your big, life plan, do you plan to have a family?

Somewhere in there.

What about kids? How many do you think you might like to have?

However many I get.

So, you’ll be a sixth grader this year.  What subject are you most looking forward to?

Either science or history.

What’s your least favorite subject?

Anything that has to do with English.

But to be a governmental leader, you’ll need to know how to read, write, and speak well.

I know, I’m just not looking forward to writing mostly.

What are you currently saving your money for?

A Christian Pulisic jersey. (This is his favorite player currently.  We went to find a fun video of him playing, and Anson did commentary through the whole thing, so maybe he can add soccer commentator to his list of life goals. He’s definitely got the enthusiasm to nail the quintessential “GOOOAAALLL!” 😂)

What are your favorite foods?

I like egg wraps with tater tots.  (This list is oddly short. He happily chose meals to cover almost three days of his birthday week: baked oatmeal, Caesar salad, fettuccine Alfredo, waffles and Nutella, homemade pizza, hotdogs and smiley face potatoes, black bean cupcakes …)

What are your favorite worship songs?

Rejoice, To the Cross (He can often be heard doing his chores or playing somewhere and singing worship songs.)

At this point Madeline and Simeon have begun wrestling in the background.  They appeal to Anson to help them, but Anson claims to be Switzerland.

I ask Anson if we have neglected to cover anything important to him these days.  He thinks a bit, and then mentions a biography about Albert Einstein and begins to rehearse Einstein’s theory of relativity, “e=mc² . Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared.” 

He doesn’t want to cover any of the specific spiritual growth he’s had this year.  “Most of it is personal,” he says.  I will say that, along with his dad, he sets the speed for quick turning and confessing of sin in our family.

So, I guess with that, we’re done.  He’s a well-rounded, godly, smart kid.  We’re excited to see where the Lord leads him as he continues to grow!

Scalding hot sand lesson

The scalding hot sand on the beach this week reminded me of a practical lesson and a helped me understand a deeper spiritual truth.

I had both babies – Zephaniah on my hip and Eden walking beside me. The three of us were heading out to the beach ahead of the rest of the family.

The boardwalk was hot under our bare feet. Towards the end of the boardwalk, Eden had reached her limit, so I scooped her up to my other hip. My feet were hot too, but I pressed on, because the only times I had been out on the beach in the recent years had been in the evenings when the sand is squishy and cool. I didn’t remember how torturously hot it got in midday.

Even after the first few steps in the sand, I thought I could run and make it to a place of relief. The babies bounced as my running and my exclamations of pain became more frantic. I could feel the skin on my feet burning. I couldn’t make it another step, but at this point, I was midway between the boardwalk and the ocean. There was literally nothing I could do. No one there to help.

Suddenly I remembered the towel I was carrying. I flung it onto the sand and stood on it trying to recalibrate a plan.

But there was no other plan. There was nothing to do but continue on to the beach or retreat back to the boardwalk. Both would involve pain.

I took a few more breaths allowing my feet to have another moment of a reprieve before continuing on. The babies clutched me as I snatched up the towel and ran on. Zephaniah laughed from all the bouncing, totally ignorant of the pain of his mother.

I had to stop twice more. I was desperate to reach the cool water. But my joy over finally approaching it was hindered by the sharp shells that had recently been pumped out of the sea and onto the beach to make a bigger beach area. The shells hadn’t had time to be broken down further and dulled on their edges by the waves. They were the grand finale to my torturous journey and put the final touches on my raw feet before I made it to the water.

As I reflected on the whole event, the first and most obvious lesson learned was to never traverse hot sand without proper footwear.

As I further reflected, I noted that the idea of setting the babies down in the hot sand to relieve myself had never crossed my mind. I sometimes question my selflessness as a mother, so this was reassuring to me. And in some small way it taught me a bit more about the love of my Savior.

He endured everything willingly, without resentment in order to carry me to a place of safety. He ran an infinitely more torturous race not merely as a grand display of His perfection (which is easy for me to

imagine), but because of His great love for me (much harder for me to grasp).

So, though it was a time of suffering, it became one of my favorite memories from our trip to the beach this year.

Ask, Seek, Knock

Several members of our family are wanting to hear more from God. As we were doing our family Bible time today regarding that topic, we reviewed the verse:

Anyone who asks receives

And he who seeks finds

And to him who knocks the door will be opened

I prayed silently that He would show me something and answer our prayers to hear more from Him. And then I got a simple, but profound picture regarding the asking, seeking, and knocking.

I had always regarded them as different ways of going after Him. On some occasions we could ask, sometimes we could seek, and sometimes we could knock. But the picture today involved all three working together. So, someone seeking God (as we are) would be like the person I saw – a man passing through the streets of a small village looking for a particular person.

First, we have to ask for directions. How can I get where I want to go? The one who asks receives those directions. But the search doesn’t end there. We mustn’t be satisfied to receive instructions and to simply know where the one we seek is lodging. No, we should only satisfied when we see the face of the one we seek.

So next, we go off on the journey of seeking. We must follow the directions we were given. Turn at this street. Go this far. Avoid this place. And then we will reach our destination. But the journey still isn’t complete. Once we reach the place of the one we seek, we mustn’t be satisfied to simply sit out front, waiting and hoping to catch a glimpse of the sought-after one. No, there is still another step.

Finally, we must knock, and it is *then* that the door is opened and we can behold the face of the one we seek.

May we follow through on the journey of seeking Him. May we experience the joy of beholding His face regularly!

Onion Honey Cough Syrup

Here’s a neat cough syrup that several of my mom friends swear by.  The cough syrup part begins at 1:50.

To summarize:

  • Dice an onion.
  • Layer onion with drizzled honey until you reach the top of a pint jar.
  • Cover and leave at room temperature up to 24 hours. (You can serve the syrup almost right away if you need to.)
  • After 24 hours, strain onions out and refrigerate.  The syrup will stay good indefinitely.
  • Give 1 tsp as many times per day as needed.